Zombie Apocalypse Appreciation Day

A new post is long overdue. Here it is. I hope you like the news. Recently my sixth book Zombie Domination: Tales of Undead Terror has gone live. (Ahem.) Check out the covers!

ZOMBIE DOMINATION e-book

ZOMBIE DOMINATION
e-book

And…

ZOMBIE DOMINATION Print Edition

ZOMBIE DOMINATION
Print Edition

The book is a collection of zombie epics. Fans of Horror and the ever-popular Zombie sub-genre will find a lot to like. A fine author, Cristopher DeRose (former writer for Sy-Fy online, Scribes I & II, Black Moon, among many others) wrote this after read an advanced reader copy:

“There are things about zombies that are cliche. Bruce S. Larson takes even the slightest hint of such a thing, rips its limbs off and with a widening smile from his readers, turns the genre into one big, beautiful beast we get the benefit of watching perform some new and unique twists. And the suspense! a ticking clock that actually accelerates. My heart was beating faster….”

Not bad, eh? I hope you will have a look at Zombie Domination. It’s available at Amazon  (where else?) and a variety of fine booksellers in e-book and print. So there you have it. Do your brain a favor. Check out Z.D. before apocalypse or your hungry neighbor with a suddenly pale complexion and bad skin shambles over. My new book is infectious, but in a good way.
Cheers!
BSL

And now, BEYOND APOCALYPSE

BEYOND APOCALYPSE print edition cover

BEYOND APOCALYPSE
print edition cover

Yes, you are right. OK, maybe not about that. But about it being a long time between posts, absolutely. To show my gratitude for coming here to read this new post, I would like to send you to another hot site. Hell. Truthfully, this Hell is in literary form. So it may be a seeming eternity between posts, but in that time I have created a novel that spans a galaxy. Neat, huh? I hope you like it. When reading it, you might want to play some triumphal classical music, or maybe your favorite heavy metal album. There is a lot of alien landscapes and scenes with metal. The main character Anguhr’s giant axe comes to mind. Join him to travel across galactic expanses as light and dark battle for the fate of creation. Along the way, learn the deep secrets that shape the destiny or destruction of all life. Witness Armageddon on multiple worlds. Find what lies…

(you’re right again)

BEYOND APOCALYPSE.

Check it out, here.

Read On!

BSL

BEYOND APOCALYPSE e-book cover

BEYOND APOCALYPSE
e-book cover

Just In Time For The Holidaze

W&B_Storm4PostI’m happy to announce here, and for the Universe At Large, that my latest SF/F Story Collection is now out. WITHIN AND BEYOND: THE STORM is available in both traditional print and e-book formats. It’s a nice looking book, if you don’t mind me saying so. Thanks to artists and designers Bonnie Hammond and Erik England. All involved did a good job, and the interior reading is good, too. Ahem. So, thanks to all who have a copy of my other books. Please rush to Amazon and snap up this one as well. (Right HERE.)
Cheers! And, Happy Holidays!

New Book Ballyhoo

MEMO
From: Self-Promo Dept.
Re: The latest and maybe even greatest book from, yep, Bruce S. Larson.

Coming soon to a fine book-seller, and of course Amazon.com…

WITHIN AND BEYOND: THE STORM.

So, have a look and the final cover art:

STORM Cover Tplate 5_5x8_5 FIN - Copy

And, Happy Holidays!

 

PS/Ahem: This book will make a great gift, as would the other books now available from This Author!

When A Book Is A Book (To Many People)

NAOV Proof PhotoNIGHTMARES IS IN PRINT

Go to any lobby, boarding gate,  or waiting room of your choice and you see many people forgoing magazines to, yes, play with their smart phones. You will also see a few people reading from Kindle and other e-book reader screens. As you know (I hope) I have a few published e-books. However, many people ask when my books will be in print. I started my e-book experience with the first volume of NIGHTMARES AND OTHER VICES, Volume 1. That was back in the far past of 2012. This year, Volume 2 hit the wireless delivery systems and thus Kindles in many locations. The plan was always to publish both volumes of Nightmares, followed by both collected into a grand, print edition. Now the final phase is complete. I am happy to announce that my first two SF-Horror e-book collections are now available in a single print edition. This is a beautiful, physical book that you can keep under your pillow. It’s quite the handsome paperback. Buy two and save. Actually, you just need to buy one. But do tell your friends and the stranger closest to you in a loud enough voice that all around can hear the news. All the NIGHTMARES are now physical. And at a reasonable price. Such a deal. Now all of you who need the vice of gripping your reading material free from a screen can do so with pride.  Good reading, all. Just keep the nightlight switched on. Who knows what may crawl from the page.

 

And not just scary stories are available in both forms. Click here for more fabulous options. ; )

BSL

This Imaginary Coil

MothsAsAirSnakesOccasionally, cameras capture amazing things and events. Above is a photo of the rarely seen air snakes. The group seen in the image was attracted to light from the streetlamp. Such gatherings only occur during mating season when males compete in flight for mates. Long ago reptiles dominated the sky. In the distant Cretaceous Period, pterosaurs ruled the air long before the age of birds we humans take for granted. Now, air snakes have few flying contemporaries among modern reptile species.

Drawing a further distinction, air snakes are not truly snakes. They belong to the same group that includes “slow worms.” They are all species of legless lizards. Slow worms are just that: slow. They are one form these limbless reptiles that live in the ground just as one of their prey items, the true earthworm. Slow worms are almost the exact opposite of their cousin air snakes who are extremely swift. Many groups of lizards have lost their limbs through separate evolutionary paths. Only the air snake family, Aeroidae, has evolved the ability to fly, albeit for short periods.

Air snake flight is powered by the rapidly contraction of specialized muscles that launch the animal into the air and then continue the rapid undulations of its flight scales to keep it aloft. Highly evolved, filament-like scales work in concert with lengthened, longitudinal scales that act as a narrow but effective airfoil. (An aeronautical start-up is developing a new series of coiled drone prototypes based on this unique reptile’s flight method.) The ability to contract its muscles so quickly means it is also a blur on land as in the air. Thus, the fast animals are barely captured by the human eye when darting behind a boulder or in flight.

Mid-summer is the mating period of Aeroidae species. Males launch themselves during a full moon or at bright lights in the remote areas where the rare creature is most likely spotted. Sightings only occur when observers are keeping watch for the creatures. Otherwise, the swift aerial lizards may be confused with other night flyers if glimpsed at all. The lizards themselves take great notice of their flights. Females select mating partners from the males with the greatest ability to remain aloft. The next generation assures continued, if rare, encounters with these elusive and extraordinary creatures.

It has been suggested that air snakes are actually just moths photographed at an exposure speed too slow to capture the moths at one point in flight. This would cause the resulting photo of fast-flying moths to appear much like an undulating ribbon or “snake” in the air. If this is true (and it is) then one wonders what other interesting images are produced using just simple photographic techniques, especially when coupled to the power of suggestion. Context being everything, it’s interesting to consider what people might see if they are not given a context when looking at an image. A fictitious context might produce a false conclusion. Hopefully, the fictional context and audience are willingly participating in the fun. Such as when you visit this site. Knowing there is a wink to the fantastic allows writer and reader to smile in concert. If the material is purported to be true yet the content known to be false, then we have another species called the hoax. Unfortunately, those are far more numerous than flying lizards. Critical thinking can cause a reexamination of an image or an idea, and then the fresh perspective might uncoil the truth.

I’m sure you’re aware of Sea Snugs, Alley Mites, and talking Spiders. Feel free to believe in them in the context of entertainment. They appreciate it. I’m sure the great minds of Reginald C. Staplethorpe and Hhnark! would agree that you should never let an open mind become a trap door. Occasionally, cameras capture amazing things and events. Sometimes they capture something well known that gets tweaked beyond the threshold of fact. At times, the tweak is not to the images, but the words flying around it. Keep the grains of salt at hand. Some things presented as reality need electrolytes.

 

Flying saucers orbit a tethered mother ship in deep space. Or, moths see the light…

 

 

Nightmares Return

Nightmares2c062414

Greetings.
I am very pleased to announce my latest collection has launched. to see the long awaited NIGHTMARES AND OTHER VICES, The SF-Horror Collection, Volume 2. is now ready to haunt your Kindle. This is the follow up to, yes, Volume 1 of the same title. (A collected print volume of both NIGHTMARES e-books is also in the works.) If you’re in the market for chills during the hot summer, then this is the right e-book. Read. Enjoy. Bolt awake at night. It’s not the AC causing that shiver. It’s these Nightmares. The other vices may cause other similar side effects. Read only as directed. Such as, right about now…
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LAFL54E
Cheers to you all,
BSL

Executive Destroyers

Is there light down the TV and film tunnel?

Is there light down the TV and film tunnel?

It must be destroyed. That’s the new theme in movies and TV. Any established set-up that the characters work from is annihilated. On TV, killing part of the main cast is now shock free. So now the trend is to kill the characters’ world. We see it in so many current shows and movies. If ‘That 70s Show’ was still on, Eric Foreman would be revealed as a KGB sleeper agent after killing Kelso, and then he’d blow up the basement hangout. Yes, that was a sitcom, but overused scenarios become comedic, or worse. They become clichés. Last night, the typically sterling ‘Person of Interest’ fell victim to this trend. We get it. The world is not solid. Everyone is bobbing among wreckage at sea. But we get it too much and too often. It’s time to let that device sink. Hopefully, movies and television will focus on giving us solid stories again, instead of this overused annihilation ploy. It’s time to build upward.

Electrons, Altered Lands, and Evolution

“The Story of the Alley Mite”

This is what most people glimpse when the rare Alley Mite is near: merely a spidery shadow on the side of a building that is soon forgotten.

This is what most people glimpse when the rare Alley Mite is near: merely a spidery shadow on the side of a building that is soon forgotten.

The Pacific Northwest is still an American frontier. The region harbors rich and diverse environments. Many known species are still studied to learn the secrets of their survival. New species undoubtedly await discovery in the dense rain forests, still unexplored acres surrounding the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, and the vast plains of Washington State’s great Eastern region. Among the abundant natural wonder, human expansion has altered the environment in dramatic ways. The city of Seattle washed away entire hills to create the topography it rests over, today. Further development erased part of its original shoreline. Tracts now dominated by industrial shipping facilities once harbored a brackish, swamp ecology. One of this habitat’s displaced species could be considered the Puget Sound’s answer to the land crab. Its history is a remarkable tale of adaptation and survival.

The eerie creature was rare even when the Pacific Native American Nations were the dominant, ecologically adapted human population. Native lore said the large arthropod fed off the substance of the spirit world. This description came from observations in luminous mist. It hinted at the creatures’ unusual ability to sustain itself. That unique trait is seemingly ethereal, even with scientific understanding. Non-native pioneers called the spindly creatures “Forest Striders” (a name similar to “Water Striders”) or more accurately, “Swamp Spiders.” Today, their descendants are called “Alley Mites.” There are other less printable names used by electricians due to their unique feeding habits.

A rare event: an exposed Alley Mite is seen fleeing its discovery up a downspout
A rare event: an exposed Alley Mite is seen fleeing its discovery up a downspout.

With the destruction of its original environment, it’s remarkable the creature still exists. Its modern appearance (see associated photos) suggests it was born from the industrial age. It also shows the species’ remarkable adaptive traits. Meager historic notes, Pacific Native American lore, and modern science have all been used to backtrack the Alley Mites’ swift evolution into life that is, perhaps, even better suited to the urban landscape than the humans who built it. While resembling octopus, they are more closely related to arachnids, and specifically mites. Their long legs and ability to climb walls invites comparison to spiders. As arthropods, Alley Mites are, naturally, exothermic (“cold blooded”). Their body temperature is the same as their external environment. This is true of lizards, as well as the other exoskeletal species, such as true spiders, insects, and all known arthropod species.

Alley Mites have a trait unique among arthropods. They can draw heat from the absorption of static charges. Further adaptation allows this transfer of energy directly for metabolic benefit. The trait evidently developed in the swamplands by exploiting the same release of energy that causes luminescence in swamp gasses. (This was gave rise to such myths as “will-o-the wisp” and other supernatural interpretations.) The little known Alley Mite possess what is described as an electrobolic adaptation. They are true electrovores.

An Alley Mite is seen taking a feeding position along electrical wires strung over, yes, an alleyway.

An Alley Mite is seen taking a feeding position along electrical wires strung over, yes, an alleyway.

With the continued destruction of their coastal environment, many Swamp Spiders (Electropoda stagnum) fled the swamplands for the forest. Their brackish habitats were completely destroyed in the 20th century. The original, costal species became extinct in the 1940s. The populations of these electrovore arthropods, or electropods, were always small. Still, enough of them moved higher into the alpine regions the save the genus. These survivors became true Forest Striders (E. silvestris). They adapted to the lush, evergreen ecology and found another source of heat and energy suited to their electrobolic system. The Pacific woodlands are interspersed by alpine swamps and pondlands created by the same glaciers that carved the Puget Sound. In some of these aquatic systems live bioluminescent algae and bacteria that cause the occasionally brilliant “forest auras” or “mountain aurora” effects. (A section of Seattle’s Highway 99 still bears the name Aurora.) In the electropods’ original swamp habitat, they exploited the electrostatic charge from the reactions of released gasses. In their new, evergreen environment, the alga and bacteria were the source. Even though this biochemical reaction provided less energy, it was enough to perpetuate the electrovore adaptation. It would be an important step in Forest Strider becoming the Alley Mite once the electron revolution became part of the Industrial Age.

Continued human changes to the environment created a source of energy for urban expansion in the Pacific Northwest, and also the arthropods they had nearly made extinct. This came with the construction of the vast system of hydro-electric dams. These dams generated electricity for industry and individuals (and at least one folk song by Woody Guthrie). They also attracted the Forest Strider. More than once the aggregation of the leggy animals fouled dynamos and transmission equipment. This lead to costly repairs and repeated curses. Wire screens and hunters’ bounties kept them at bay, but again nearly extinguished the species. It is a historical irony that the hydro-electric dams spurred the electrobolic adaptation to become more efficient among the survivors. This would prove advantageous to exploit a plentiful source of energy in another, new environment down river. Populations of the remarkable arthropods returned to the shores of the Puget Sound, inside the very city whose construction nearly caused their doom.

Here the typically docile electropod is seen assuming a defensive posture when hit with the bright flash from a camera.

Here the typically docile electropod is seen assuming a defensive posture when hit with the bright flash from a camera.

Inside Seattle’s urban corridors, the electropods became Electropoda urbanensis, or more commonly, the Alley Mite. Much like raccoons, the electropods have adapted well to the dense city environment. For the Alley Mite, the journey is a full circle. The large arthropods live almost unknown by the Emerald City’s people. Their unique ability to siphon electricity makes them at times a pest to electricians and building owners. However, their low numbers means they will never be as dangerous as the many types of vermin, or as destructive as termites. Of the few times people have encountered Alley Mites, they always retreat from conflict, even though they are fairly large and spider like. They may freeze to avoid detection and be confused with actual electrical structures. If this fails, they escape to sanctuaries high and away from the most curious humans. There are only a few recorded unfortunate incidents. These have mostly been impacts with early morning delivery vans. When a van accidentally hits an Alley Mite with any part other than the tires, the discharge can damage the vehicle’s electrical system. In at least in one such incident, it also caused a sharp jolt to the driver a little stronger than caffeine.

The only other potential negative effects of the creatures’ presence may be in the mind of the overly superstitious. If someone hears scratching on the outside walls of a condo, apartment, or hotel room, it may not be a supernatural creature from myth come to haunt you. It may simply be an Alley Mite on its way to charge itself on the same supply that your phone or tablet eats. And they’ve been doing it for far longer. Electropods are a remarkable species, and a typifying example of punctuated equilibrium. Alley Mites show that adaptation is a hope for survival of many species. One can only hope that they future is bright for both Homo sapiens and Electropoda urbanensis. The Swamp Spider, E. stagnum may be forever lost. It is hoped that the Forest Strider, E. silvestris still thrives somewhere in the deep woods (as well as the mind of one Speculative Fiction writer, who once found himself in a city alleyway with a camera, late one night).

BSL

The Super Market is the New Globe -or- Break-Up On Aisle Four

CldCrm4rSprMrktPostAll the world’s a stage. Shakespeare wrote that, even before super markets were a near universal fact of life. Now, one can see drama occur on their polished floors with a musak soundtrack and a backdrop of stacked soup cans. Even if a person attempts not to pry or eavesdrop, you may find yourself among the extras, or in a sudden and unexpected walk-on role. At times, the players are also unexpected. I strayed into the soup aisle one night, and found an impromptu production underway.

“You’re just too weird!” the woman said to her male partner.

He remained silent. Only his shoulders sagged in reply.

“I mean, you wear your work clothes everywhere!” She continued, and threw her hands to her sides as if to display the width of the planet. “Even at home. Even here!”

The man’s slumped shoulders flexed in a shrug. The palms of his white-gloved hands turned to the ducts and lights across the ceiling. His bright orange, curly hair jostled. His motion pulled his colorful one-piece suit tight towards his neck and several polka dots stretched into ovals.

I attempted to be fascinated by the minestrone and vegetable beef with noodles.

“I just can’t do this.” The woman grabbed her shopping cart and sighed. “We’re done!”

Without a backward glance, the woman took the cart and walked away from her now ex. The frilly ball atop his pointed hat bobbled as he turned to watch her leave. Perhaps ironically, his clown make-up did not have a tear painted under an eye.

We caught each others’ gaze. I gave an understanding smile.

“I mean, it’s not like that lights up,” I said and lifted my hand basket to point at his bulbous, brilliant red nose in an attempt of mitigated camaraderie.

His nose then lit up. All I did was nod and continue to the cereal aisle.

There I found the clown’s newly former girlfriend sighing between the shelves of garish boxes. The frustration of her soup aisle break-up was obvious as she yanked out boxes and roughly slapped them into her shopping cart. “Big Top Berry Mix” was on sale, but she was buying shredded wheat.

There was only a mercifully low ad for anti-itch cream on the overhead speakers. No melody of Leoncavallo was playing. I walked to the dairy section, deciding that raspberry yogurt was the thing.

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